Continental Grip – Pickleball Grips and How They Change Your Game

Your grip on the pickleball paddle can make or break your game on the court. If you nail the right grip, you will be able to hit the ball with precision, delivering both power and accuracy in your shots. It’s the key to mastering the diverse range of moves essential for dominating pickleball and scoring those victories.

If you are eager to make your pickleball game even better, you are in the perfect spot. This article is your go-to guide, breaking down everything you need to know about the pickleball grips. We will walk you through the three most common ways to hold your paddle, highlighting the advantages and drawbacks of each.

Additionally, we will also spill the secrets on how tightly to grip your paddle and guide you on tailoring your grip to match your playing style. After all, even the best pickleball paddle won’t do wonders if you are not wielding it right. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

The Three Types of Paddles Grips

Before mastering the continental grip, you will have to learn about the types of paddle grips we have in pickleball. Picture your paddle grips as the secret sauce to to your game, here are the three classic paddle grips in pickleball: 

The Continental Grip

Continental Grip and Beyond

Continental grip is the most common pickleball grip style people like to master to up their pickleball game. It’s also known as the hammer grip. Why so? Because you hold the paddle like a hammer hitting a nail.

Here’s how you hold a paddle for continental grip:

  • Place the index finger knuckle just right of the flat bevel.
  • Creates a V between thumb and index finger.
  • Lefties, adjust knuckle to the left-side bevel.

The Eastern Grip

Continental Grip and Beyond

Apart from the continental grip, the second most common grip among pickleball players is the Eastern grip pickleball. It is also known as the ‘handshake’ grip. Again, the reason why it’s called so is because it involves holding the paddle as if you were engaging in a friendly handshake.

Here’s how you can master the pickleball eastern grip:

  • Extend your hand in a handshake position.
  • Wrap your fingers around the paddle handle, mimicking a handshake.
  • Position the knuckle of your index finger on the 2nd bevel to the right of the top flat bevel.

V Placement:

  • Ensure the V between your thumb and index finger rests on the first bevel to the right of the top.
  • Left-handed players, adapt by placing your index knuckle on the 2nd bevel to the left of the flat top bevel.

The Western Grip

Continental Grip and Beyond

Once you have successfully mastered the Eastern grip, learning the Western grip becomes a breeze. 

Adopting the Western Grip:

  • Rotate your hand one bevel to the right or clockwise.
  • Place your index knuckle on the third bevel to the right of the flat top bevel.
  • The V between your index finger and thumb should be on the 2nd bevel to the right of the top flat bevel.

Frying Pan Grip Style:

  • Hold the paddle as you would a pan flipping pancakes.
  • This style is aptly named the ‘frying pan grip’.
  • With the paddle face closed, you should see the back of the paddle when held straight out in front of you.

Continental Grip: Pros and Cons

The Continental grip pickleball is like the middle ground, but with the V of your hand on top, it slightly leans towards the backhand. This setup boosts the power of your backhand shots because your hand is in front of the paddle when hitting the ball.

Not just about power, the pickleball continental grip also rocks at precise dinks and returns. Plus, no need to switch grips between shots – a sweet deal, especially for beginners.

Yet, there’s a tiny drawback of the continental grip: your forehand shots might lack a bit of power compared to other grips. Still, the pros outweigh the cons, and players of all levels swear by this style.

When Does the Continental Grip Work? 

Let’s move ahead and discuss why you might want to switch from a continental grip to something else. There are a couple of reasons for this:

1. Easier for Driving Shots:

  • Driving shots require hitting the ball flat (without spin) and with significant power.
  • An eastern grip makes it more natural to face the paddle forward, crucial for driving the ball forcefully.
  • Using a continental grip for such shots would require adjusting the paddle face during contact, resulting in a less efficient and slower swing.

2. Easier for Topspin:

  • Topsin shots involve making the ball spin forward, adding a curve to your shots.
  • The eastern grip’s natural forward-facing position is advantageous for generating topspin compared to the more open continental grip.
  • Attempting topspin shots with a continental grip would require additional adjustments, making the swing less efficient.

Does the Grip Matter?

Absolutely! Pickleball grips do matter, and it’s not just about style. Think of it like choosing the right shoes for a game – the grip can affect your performance. The right grip helps you control the paddle better, making those swift moves and powerful shots way easier. It is just like having the perfect playlist for a workout. It enhances the whole experience. 

So, whether you prefer a cushioned feel or a firmer grip, finding what suits you is like unlocking a cheat code for your pickleball game. It’s not just about winning; it’s about enjoying the game even more!

Bottom Line

In short, whatever grip you choose to master, make sure you know the basics of each one of them, their pros and cons, how they compare to other grips, and what type of grip will help you the most. Additionally, refining your understanding of specific scenarios where each grip has its own set of benefits can significantly enhance your overall performance. Remember, adapting your grip to suit diverse situations will help you tackle various challenges with greater ease and finesse.


What is a continental grip in pickleball?

It is a way of holding the paddle with the base knuckle of your index finger on the edge, providing versatility for various shots.

What is the proper grip for pickleball?

The continental grip is commonly recommended for better control, especially for beginners.

How do you hold a pickleball paddle continental grip?

Place the base knuckle of your index finger on the edge of the paddle and ensure a relaxed grip for improved maneuverability.

Can you use a Western grip in pickleball?

It’s not common; continental grip is usually recommended for better play, as it allows for more effective volleys and control.

What is the difference between eastern pickleball grip and continental pickleball grip?

In the continental grip, the base knuckle is on the edge, whereas for the eastern grip, it is more towards the top for forehand shots, influencing the paddle angle during play. When comparing the two, understanding the complexities of the eastern vs continental grip can help refine your pickleball technique.

What is the eastern forehand grip pickleball?

The eastern forehand grip in pickleball involves placing the base knuckle of your index finger more towards the top of the paddle, facilitating controlled forehand shots.

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